June 24, 2014

Promotional Video, courtesy of All American Guys

Courtesy of our partner website All American Guys, check out this cool promo they sent us for our viewers.  You can plenty of these guys at www.allamericanguys.com

Check out America's Hottest Fitness Guys

June 18, 2014

Dylan Powell for Michael A. Downs

This is a promotional image of model Dylan Powell, who recently photographed for Michael A. Downs and the All American Guys project.  You can catch Dylan over at www.allamericanguys.com.


June 16, 2014

Zac Aynsley Promotional Post

This is a post featuring model Zac Aynsley, from a recent shoot with Michael A. Downs. Zac will appear in the 2015 Masculine calendar.  You can visit his site, www.zacaynsley.net and sign up for the newsletter.



April 18, 2014

Austen Gravett for Masculine

Austen is being considered for the 2015 Masculine calendar.  Check out a few images of the hot newcomer below.





February 24, 2014

Pedro Pertile Feature

On the Rise, Fitness Model Pedro Pertile
by Peter Renault


Blessed with classic good looks and a stellar physique, newcomer Pedro Pertile is already making quite a splash in the fitness modeling scene. Since snatching top prize at the NPC Panhandle Showdown in Florida last spring, this handsome Brazilian-born bodybuilder has caught the eye of several top photographers, most notably Pat Lee and Michael Anthony Downs. Perhaps it is his relatively clean-cut appearance and no-nonsense approach to training that cause him to stand out. Or maybe it’s his innate ability to command the stage as well as the studio. Pertile, who is 5’ 11” and 22 years old, seems primed to be one of the more popular figures in the field. 

Born in Sao Paolo, Pertile came to the United States with his family when he was eight years old. Growing up in Jacksonville, Florida, he took to sports early on, including, of course, soccer, but also wrestling, surfing, and one of his favorite activities, wake-boarding. Now fresh from high-profile appearances in the bodybuilding circuit, he is eager to put his modeling talents to the test. He recently came back from a shoot in Hawaii with fitness photographer Richard D. Whiddon. And it’s just been announced that Pertile will be featured in Michael Downs’s next Masculine calendar. Luckily Masculine Magazine had a chance recently during a break in his busy travel schedule to catch up with this rising star:

MASCULINE: You have such a strong, clean, healthy look, Pedro. How long have you been modeling?

PERTILE: Actually, I have only been modeling for a few months. My first photo shoot was in Fort Lauderdale right after NPC Nationals and my name has really blown up in the industry since then!

M: What motivated you to get started in the fitness field?

PP: At first, it was really just to gain size. I started going to the gym, but like every beginner, you don’t know exactly what you have to do, or what you have to eat. So one of the personal trainers helped me and also got me to step on stage for the first time last year. Starting in January 2013, I got a nutrition and workout coach, who set my standards very high, and helped me achieve them, including my first place wins, national level shows, and, of course, the physique I wanted, which then got me featured on FitnessRX magazine.


M: Were you always in good shape or did you have to overcome certain obstacles to achieve the physique you wanted? 

PP: I have always played sports like soccer (since I am Brazilian), wake-boarding, and surfing, but I was always on the smaller side throughout high school. All my friends either played baseball, football, or basketball, and I wasn’t interested in baseball, too small for football, and not tall enough for basketball. I have always been strong, but never had a good size, so I did wrestling up until my senior year. But that did not help me gain weight. I still remember the first protein tub I got, and walking around school drinking protein shakes, ordering twice the meals, and everyone looking at me like I was crazy!

M: Who were some of your role models when you were younger? And today? Have they changed?

PP: My biggest role models were of course the great Arnold, Tom Platz, Don Long (who is now my very motivated coach) and all of the other guys I would see in bodybuilding magazines. Today, I really look up to Steve Cook, Jaco de Bruyn, Matt Christianer, and lately Ben Pakulski, because of his knowledge of muscle building, hypertrophy and his suggestions of what workouts to do and and why. Another big influence has been a friend of mine, IFBB Fitness pro Kelcie Gahley. She is very caring, and big-hearted and pushes me to become better, gets pissed at me if I say “I can’t,” and supports me no matter what. 

M: Tell us a bit about your exercise routines? What does Pedro Pertile do differently from other guys to get his sleek look?  

PP: I separate all of my workouts. Constantly. I don’t stick to the same workout routine for more than 4-5 weeks or until I notice some plateau. You don’t necessarily need to change the whole routine, but even just changing up the tempo, number of sets, as well as incorporating some supersets makes a difference. I also don’t work out with my ego like I see a ton of guys doing. You may be able to throw up 405 on bench press, but my chest is still bigger than yours and I don’t go that heavy. It’s all a science. Once someone learns about muscle breakdown and recovery down to the neurological blueprint, muscle growth becomes much more efficient (still tough though.)

M: How do you maintain that smooth, well-toned skin? And how have you managed so far to avoid getting tattoos? 

PP: I have honestly never been the kind to put any lotion or sunscreen on my skin until just recently when a few photographers told me I should. I now use a bit of lotion to help keep my skin moisturized and sunscreen while on a boat or at the beach. Regarding the tattoo question, I actually have one! Haha. It’s on my left calf. No more tattoos for me, however, until I decide that fitness modeling is not my thing anymore. This one was very sentimental and I have gotten tons of compliments on it, especially from photographer Michael Downs. (He laughs.) I’m a little afraid he might want the same one on his leg. 

M: Tell us a bit more about yourself. Your background and education?  

PP: My father’s side of the family is originally from Europe, though he met my Mom in Brazil. I was born there. I speak Portuguese, and, of course, English, which I now consider my first language. I am currently in school to get my business degree, and my goal is to franchise a restaurant when I am older.


M: Outside of the gym and the studio, what does Pedro do for fun? Any special hobbies or interests?

PP: I really enjoy traveling, and it’s something I just recently started to do and I am now addicted! I also enjoy going out to the driving range with the guys, skating down First Street in Jacksonville Beach, and I still go out sometimes. But I also enjoy being a homebody. So staying in and watching a Redbox sounds like the perfect night to me.

M: People always have pre-conceived notions about what a bodybuilder or fitness model is like. What is the most unusual thing about you? The most unexpected?

PP: The one thing people think we don’t do is go out and have fun. Just because we look pissed off in the gym when it’s go time. That’s just because we are focused, but outside of the gym, most of us are humble with awesome personalities and even big-hearted. My friends still give me crap every time we go out, asking if I’m allowed to have a beer, or able to eat chicken wings, which I still do from time to time. The most unexpected thing about me, I would have to say, is this whole fitness lifestyle, modeling and getting to travel to shoot. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad thing at all, but it is taking some getting used to considering that three months ago I never even thought about modeling.

M: How do you train for a modeling shoot? Do you have to alter your routine or diet significantly?

PP: I eat clean for the most part since it has become a habit to always meal prep and pack my meals for the day, but the thing I change the most is my cardio time. i would rather be out doing sprints on a field or at the beach, but when I don’t have time I just do HIIT or Stairmaster. 

M: What’s it like for you working with a photographer? Was it difficult at first? Some models get hung-up about posing in underwear. Has that ever been an issue for you?

PP: I actually really enjoy it because I get to learn a different side of myself whether it be the daydream look, seductive, happy, focused, whichever it is. The hard part was learning what works best for me, but I promise you that gets easier with every shoot. I really don’t mind doing the underwear modeling unless it’s out by a pool or somewhere that the public can see me. I still get nervous sometimes but I have been pushing myself to do better.

M: Aside from anything too scandalous, what was the funniest thing that has happened to you yet during a shoot. Or perhaps the craziest concept for a shoot?

PP: It’s always funny to get attention from people when you are shooting because they all assume you are famous! I have had a few experiences where people have asked me to take pictures with them and one time I actually got a small line of people. In my mind that was very awesome and I felt very blessed to know people liked my physique. The craziest shoot I have done was a gladiator look, and I had everything on — the helmet, all the armor, shield, the whole nine yards!

M: How have your friends and family reacted to all the attention you are getting? 

PP: “Famous” is the first word I get from friends (although I really am not famous) and for the most part they all support me. My family is proud that I found something I enjoy doing and support me 100% even during contest prep when I can get annoyed or stressed and they know when to leave me alone.

M: Is there anything you would do differently if you had the chance? Or advice to those just starting out?

PP: I wish I would have started earlier. I am very competitive and I think about the other guy who is competing for that first place spot or that cover shoot, and it drives me to a different level. My advice is to stay focused, and don’t forget why you started! I have met the nicest, most motivating people in this industry. Yes, it’s competitive, but at the end of the day we are a big family in a community that thinks we are crazy to be able to eat so healthy and stay so dedicated.


M: How does it feel to know you are going to be featured in a Masculine calendar? Is it something you ever expected for yourself? Are you excited about it?

PP: I never expected to be on a calendar unless it was a personal one I had made at Walmart or something. LOL. It’s an amazing opportunity and I feel so blessed and thankful for everything that is happening in my life right now.

M: Where do you see yourself going with all this modeling and fitness? Do you see it developing into a career?

PP: It’s hard to believe I get paid to do something I love and enjoy doing. I am starting to see the career side of it now but the best thing is that it feels natural, and as they say, “Find a job you love to do and you will never work a day in your life.”


You can see exclusive images of Pedro over at the Masculine Platinum website.



February 20, 2014

Dylan V. Promo Video

By fan request, here's newcomer Dylan V's cool promotional video.  You can see more of Dylan in the Platinum section of Masculine.  

Jeff Seid, First Promo Video

For those who haven't seen this, here is Jeff Seid's first professional promotional video, shot for Masculine in 2012, at the start of Jeff's fitness modeling career. Jeff weighed considerably less during his beginnings as you can see in the video. See what Jeff's been up to lately by visiting his site, www.jeffseid.com

February 07, 2014

More of Brian Lewis from Michael A. Downs

Do you guys thinks Brian should be a contender for the 2015 Masculine Calendar ?  We'd like your comments.





February 06, 2014

Christopher Paul for Platinum

You can see lots more of Christopher Paul in the Platinum section.  Check out these two preview images below.



January 26, 2014

Pedro Pertile for Masculine by Michael A. Downs

These are photos from the sexy male model newcomer Pedro Pertile.  You'll most likely see Pedro in the 2015 Masculine calendar.  Also visit Michael's Facebook page to comment on Pedro.




January 19, 2014

Michael Heppner for Michael A. Downs

Select images of model Michael Heppner for Michael A. Downs studios.



January 11, 2014

Brian Lewis, Newcomer Male Fitness Model

Test shots of newcomer fitness model Brian Lewis.  Visit his fan page: facebook.com/BrianLewis89





January 01, 2014

Tyler Gattuso for Michael A. Downs

Tyler Gattuso.


December 29, 2013

Blake Mouyassar, Dressed in Gray

From Blake's South Beach, Miami shoot


December 13, 2013

Sean Bieschke

Sean Bieschke will appear in the forthcoming 2015 Masculine Calendar, which is planned for release in the late Summer of 2014. 




December 11, 2013

Franco Klein for Masculine

Franco Klein will appear in the forthcoming 2015 Masculine Calendar, which is planned for release in the late Summer of 2014.  What do you think of Franco?  You can see tons more of Franco at www.masculineplatinum.com




November 21, 2013

Dylan V.

by Peter Renault


"The total package!" You hear that expression bandied about so much these days that it's lost its impact. But up-and-coming fitness model, Dylan V, puts a new twist on that tired catchphrase. Looks, brains, brawn and charm -- he's got them all in spades. A strapping 5' 10", 185 pounds of muscle, with imposing 18-inch guns, Dylan exudes self-confidence and sex appeal, but without any of the grating cockiness of some of his better-known contemporaries. His allure is more subtle, subdued, even somewhat elusive. Maybe it's those mercurial hazel eyes that mirror the colors and light around him in a kaleidoscope of alternating hues. "I've been told I have weird eyes," Dylan says with a laugh. "My girlfriend calls them chameleon eyes. I guess they change a lot." 


 Dylan better get used to change these days. Big changes. Even though he is a fresh face in the world of modeling, he's already got three shoots under his belt including a recent shoot in Los Angeles for a celebrity book project, in which he was paired with fitness model phenom Jeff Seid. He was scouted by a photographer in Minneapolis at a recent physique competition. A quick shoot was lined up, but the scout realized that Dylan had exceptional potential so he hooked him up with seasoned photographer Michael Anthony Downs, based out of Florida. "I'd never done any modeling before," Dylan admits, with a laugh. "The last pictures taken of me were for my senior prom. I always thought it would be cool. Who wouldn't want to give it a try?" But Dylan quickly learned that modeling is more than just smiling for the camera. It requires intense dieting, focus, long hours -- and very often travel. "I always knew I was… well…, a good-looking guy, I guess," he says with typical humility. "But never in a million years did I think I'd be doing what I'm doing now."


 The attention he's garnering is playing well back home in Sioux Falls. "There are a lot of guys there getting into bodybuilding," he says. "But I don't know any other male models in the area." So far the reaction from friends and family has been very positive. "It's cool. I'm living my dreams. No negatives. Maybe a few chuckles." The key is to keep it all in perspective -- not let it get to your head. "I'm basically just a nice guy," he says. "People are all the same. We're all just here to be happy, to get where we're trying to go. Just living life. I'm no better than the next person."

Currently studying nursing at South Dakota State University, Dylan has lived in the area his whole life. Before his recent shoot in Florida, the furthest he'd ever been from home, he says, was Minneapolis. Suddenly he found himself on the white sandy beaches of Florida's golden Gulf Coast: Sarasota and Tampa Bay. "It was a whole new level for me," Dylan says. "I'd never even been to a real natural beach or the ocean before."


Was he nervous for his first professional shoot? "Nah. I look at it this way. I always give my best. It's all good. Just do what you can." Dylan proved his willingness to put it all out there when Downs suggested he pose in nothing more than a pair of briefs in the middle of a busy boulevard, holding a sign next to his chiseled eight-pack stating: "Will Work for Food." It's a classic, off-the-cuff Downs capture, provocative and edgy. Dylan nailed it without any trouble, although "stopping traffic" and "rubber necking" hardly suffice as phrases for the stunned reactions of the drivers passing by in their cars during rush-hour. 


Pushing the envelope is no sweat for Dylan, who competed as a wrestler for years. Fitness is his lifestyle. "I've been training since I was a kid," he says. "My Dad was a high school wrestling and football coach. So I picked it up early. I've been doing push-ups and sit-ups since kindergarten!" At twelve, he lifted his first weights. "I was small when I was young, but by the time I was fourteen I was training seriously." He quickly put on muscle and ballooned in size. A slight 103 pounds in seventh grade, Dylan had to drink water to make weight in his wrestling meets. By senior year he was a heavyweight, tipping the scale at 220. Wrestling appealed to him because it's a personal challenge. "There's no one else to blame," Dylan says. It's an individual sport with a team behind you. But they can't help you out on the mat. I liked that. In football you can point the finger for a loss. But in wrestling, if I lost it was because of me." 


While hitting the gym regularly to build mass, Dylan soon met a mentor who changed his life: NGA pro bodybuilder Austin Kjergaard. "I was blessed," Dylan recalls, impressed by the athlete's build and rigorous routine. "Austin was a few years older than me and I thought 'Holy Cow! I could be like him.' He had such a good work ethic. So when he asked me, 'Hey, do you want to work out with me?' I couldn't believe it. I was ready to go. In the end he was the biggest influence on me. I couldn't have done any of this without him."


Kjergaard has proved a role model outside the gym as well. "He taught me what hard work really is -- sacrifice," Dylan says. "His best advice was to always stay motivated. You can't look up to others, he told me. You can't be like anyone else. You must envision your own self. Don't compare. Be different. Sculpt it in your own way." But most of all, keep things in perspective. "You must stay humble," he says. "I am not one of those guys who brags a lot or posts pictures of himself all the time." But considering his growing circle of fans, Dylan admits that will have to change. "You have to market yourself. Maybe I will have to lose some of my humility."

With future shoots in Miami slated, perhaps that time has come. "I'm on cloud nine," Dylan says. "Don't even know what to think. I've never been to Miami." He laughs. "I've only seen Miami on TV." And since he recently was in Hollywood, the questions begs…what about acting? Can he see himself following in the footsteps of other bodybuilders who got into movies? "I am open-minded," Dylan says, choosing his words carefully. "Acting would be cool.  But the sky is the limit."



NOTE:  Dylan appears as Mr. April 2014.  
Order your copy of the calendar here





November 10, 2013

Matt Acton, for Masculine.

Matt appears in the 2014 Masculine Calendar


October 21, 2013

Dylan V. for Masculine

Dylan will appear in the 2014 Masculine Calendar.  Keep a look out for him.


October 15, 2013

Masculine Calendar 2014 NOW on SALE

The 2014 calendar is now on sale.  Please VISIT CALENDAR SALE PAGE

 Payments for purchase is handled by Paypal (which includes options for major credit cards).  Our cover model for this year is Colin Wayne.  Click Here to Buy.


October 14, 2013

David Morin, Jamaica Series


October 04, 2013

Tim Hartman, Vieques Puerto Rico Series


Jeff Seid & Daniel Rumfelt

First of several images from a cool Vegas gas-station mini-shoot.


September 25, 2013

Presenting Vito Scara

In his early teens he photographed with the iconic Bruce Weber, for the coveted Hollister campaign. He is now returning to the world of modeling, but in a more "aesthetic" way.

September 04, 2013

Blake Mouyassar Feature

Blake "The Steak" Mouyassar
by Peter Renault


It's rare that a new player enters the fitness world ready for primetime just as he's kicking off his career. But in just a few short months, 18-year-old newcomer Blake Mouyassar has exploded on the scene. His handsome dark looks, killer physique and obvious flair in front of the camera have catapulted him to a level of attention that takes some new faces years to attain. Paired opposite Canadian fitness sensation Justin DeRoy in high-profile photo shoots in Miami this summer with Michael Anthony Downs and Luis Rafael, Mouyassar held his own in the double spotlight and became good friends with DeRoy. At 5',10" and 182 pounds, Mouyassar currently has 17" arms, a 30" waist and 26" legs. He's holding his body fat at 6%. It all makes for an eye-catching debut.


Recently dubbed "Blake the Steak" by Justin DeRoy -- a tag that might stick due to his beefcake appeal -- Mouyassar is determined to take his newfound success to the next level. A Missouri native, Mouyassar already has a global following thanks to social media. Like many young models, he's utilized YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, and sites like Bodybuilding.com, to promote himself, gaining friends and fans from around the world. Perhaps it's his easy-going charm that sets him apart or his surprising lack of attitude. Mouyassar doesn't need to bowl over others with chest-thumping theatrics. His intense focus is what gains attention and respect. As he prepares for a medical education, Mouyassar intends to continue training and to make further inroads in the bodybuilding and modeling world. He clearly has no trouble juggling several interests at once and knows how to build on his success. Recently Masculine caught up with the rising star and dug a bit deeper into the Mouyassar mystique. 


M: Blake, your physique is mighty impressive for someone so young. How did you first get into exercise and training? 

BM: Thank you. I started exercising at age 12 when I joined the football team and played for three years, as well as basketball, wrestling and later lacrosse. I was strong and fast my whole life, but never had the anchor weight that I really wanted. With that in mind I decided to begin lifting weights and to make an effort to eat right in order to grow. That was the summer of my sophomore year in high school, going into my junior year, when I was 16 years old, and weighed 125 pounds. It all just escalated from that point.

M: 125 pounds? Amazing. Well, when you were younger who were your role models? On TV or in film or in everyday life?

BM: My biggest role model at a younger age was my cousin Justin Shea who began working out and I saw how much he grew, and decided I wanted to do the same. In the movie world, my biggest role models were Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, the two guys who I thought could take anyone on because of their size and strength. I still admire these people to this day.

M: Do you see yourself more as a fitness model or as a bodybuilder? And how do you balance the two? Do you need to train differently for a photo shoot? 

BM: I see myself more as a bodybuilder. I love that it is just me against myself when it comes to the work that has to be put in. I push myself as hard as I can everyday and with that my body grows and forms into a physique that is admired or wanted by some, and that is where the photo shoot aspect comes into play. It gives me a chance to properly show everyone how the hard work eventually pays off and gives people something to shoot towards. It is quite an easy balance as everything I do to prepare for a bodybuilding competition is what is necessary for a photo shoot. I keep everything the same, training wise, when it comes down to doing a shoot.

M: When you shot with Luis Rafael and Michael Downs you were paired with new AAG model Justin DeRoy. How did that come about and are you guys friends? What's he like to work with?

BM: Justin DeRoy and I met through a social media site called Instagram where we were both big into fitness and just getting our feet wet in this huge industry. I can't speak for Justin, but I feel he would agree that we both wanted to show our hard work to everyone and gather a bigger audience by working with two of the top fitness photographers around. Since both of us have the same interests and likes we got along great! It was just like being reunited with a friend when we met. Both of us are not shy when it comes down to business in the photo shoots so it was easy for both of us working together.

M: You mentioned Instagram. How has social media helped or hindered you in your development as a fitness model? I see you also have some really fun videos on YouTube. 

BM: Social media helps me reach out to a bigger audience and gives me the chance to help and inspire more people, which at this point is what I really am setting out to do. It keeps people interested in the fitness aspect of life when they see a post or video by me. I hope that inspires them to make the decision to better their lives through fitness.

M: You seem to have it all. Dark good looks, smooth skin, great smile. What do you feel is unique about your own look? Makes you stand out from the pack? What is your best asset and why? Any weaknesses you'd like to improve?

BM: I do everything to the fullest, always giving my 100%. When I workout I give it my all.  When I get up on stage, I am giving it my all, and when I am posing for the camera I am giving it my all. Maybe what sets me apart from everyone else is that I am always giving my 100%. When I train I envision myself as being stronger, faster, and bigger. With this comes the trait I have of never being satisfied, which has its positives and negatives. I will never see my body being exactly where I want it; so in my eyes, I can always be improving.

M: Okay. Your focus is truly admirable. But what do you for fun? Models are always keeping an eye on how they exercise, what they eat and how much their body fat is etc, but how do you personally unwind from all that, kick back and just enjoy life?

BM: Being as health-conscious as I am, I try to stick to activities that won't sacrifice my diet or health. I always put my diet first, but when I go out I enjoy seeing movies with friends and family. Nature intrigues me too, so hiking is something I really enjoy. Those are just a few things I do to unwind.

M: Got any special hobbies you'd like to share with us?

BM: Cooking is something I do as a special hobby. I enjoy finding different ways to prepare meals, creating new recipes that are healthy.

M: So you are now the cover boy for Masculine magazine. What does "masculinity" or "being masculine" mean to you personally in this day and age?

BM: For me, "masculine" means power. You are a leader, not a follower.

M: Cool. So what spurs you on to excel? To dedicate yourself to your goals? 

BM: Bettering myself and creating the best possible Blake is what I imagine when I push myself each day.

M: People think of bodybuilders as having big egos, but you strike me as pretty down-to-earth. Still, you can't help getting attention. Any funny stories about people misreading you, or rubbing you the wrong way? 

BM: Something that is funny is my muscles will always, and I mean always, get brought up into a conversation every day with friends, family, or people I have just met. My buddy Jake, whom I have known since I was young, will be around me sometimes when people are commenting about my muscles and he will always say, "He is a nice person too, you know." It's kind of like stating the fact that I have a personality and am not just the visual traits that most people only see.

M: Ha. That's pretty funny. Where do you see yourself going with modeling and fitness? Do you have a particular plan in mind for the future?

BM: I am going to college for the next 6-8 years of my life, as I plan to become a doctor since I am well-educated and can focus myself. But my life has forever changed to being a fitness freak. I want to take modeling and fitness as far as I can, but without it overwhelming my life and it becoming my life.

M: No doubt you will, Blake. You've got a good head on your shoulders as well as that awesome physique. Best of luck to you! 

You can visit and like Blake's Facebook fan page:  Blake Mouyassar Fitness






August 23, 2013

Justin Maina Studio Shot


August 22, 2013

Max Lustig

Check out this image of  Matt Lustig, a newcomer on the fitness scene in the UK.


July 29, 2013

Vintage Allen Clippinger, Classic Fashion Look


One half of the noted Abercrombie Clippinger twins, Allen exudes sex appeal, masculinity and a sense of style and refinement.  Allen got his start in modeling while in the U.S. Navy stationed at Pearl Harbor. He's done a number of fashion campaigns and editorials and has modeled overseas in Japan.

Allenc2   Allenc3

July 26, 2013

Kirill Chayka

Interview with Kirill "Cheerio" Chayka
by Peter Renault


Born in the Ukraine 22 years ago, and standing at 5' 11", Kirill Chayka has one of the most striking looks in the modeling field. His stunning physique, chiseled features and riveting eyes have won him a flurry of attention from fans and the media in an incredibly fast amount of time. But it has not all gone to his head. He's focused entirely on his training, his career and his schooling. Growing up in South Carolina after moving to the States as a kid, Chayka started out small for his age and skinny, but he made up for it after high school by lifting weights and improving his size. Since launching himself on the fitness scene through social media, he has been sought-after by the top photographers in the business. At times it seemed as if everyone wanted a piece of him, but he has not let all the adulation and flattery go to his head. His story is one of perseverance and determination, but also one of setting boundaries, choosing goals, and always maintaining a sense of humor. Our interview with this up-and-coming sensation follows below.

Masculine Mag: You have one of the most impressive physiques in the fitness modeling scene. How long have you been working out?

Kirill Chayka: Thank you. I have been working out for four years now.


M: I read somewhere that you got into bodybuilding and exercise because you were picked on as a kid in PE class. Were you much smaller then? How did you overcome that?

KC: Actually I got into bodybuilding because I failed to make my university's soccer team. I just used the gym as something to take my mind off my failure. And I ate a lot in the school cafeteria before and after gym sessions. I had a fast metabolism and since I stopped playing soccer, all the food I ate went into building muscles since I was training at the gym two times a day. I did get picked on a lot in high school. I was very little and skinny. People pick on the weakest to feel superior, I guess. After graduating high school, I hit the gym, and I put on 20-30 pounds my freshman year.


M: What motivates you to persevere? To push the limits? Is it an intrinsic part of you? Or did you have to learn it?

KC: It is, I think, an intrinsic part of me. I was always competitive as a kid. I would want to win at everything that was presented in front of me, both physical and mental. Whether it be soccer, running the furthest, the fastest, doing the most push-ups, pull-ups, etc. I never wanted to be adequate, or just good enough. I wanted to be the best whenever I took up a challenge.


M: How old were you when you first came to the United States? And if you can recall, what was your reaction to it? Was it hard to adjust?

KC: I was 5 years old when I moved to the States. Can't really recall what my reaction was. But I adapt really fast and I learned to speak English fluently in five months. I also speak Russian.


M: Who were your role models growing up? Did you look up to any well-known figures? 

KC: My role model when I was a kid was Batman. Haha. I liked how he achieved something from nothing. He doesn't have super powers like every other superhero. He worked at his skill and mastered it. I know that Batman is fictional, but if I can set my sights beyond what is real and what society thinks is attainable, then I can go beyond all limits and expectations of everyone. If not, then I will just be like everyone else. And like Arnold Schwarzenegger says: "The worst thing is to be like everyone else." Arnold was also a huge role model when I started lifting weights!


M: How did you first get into modeling? How were you discovered? 

KC: Once I developed a muscular lean body, I put up a picture on the website Bodybuilding.com and from there it just sort of happened. I come from a very small town, so I don't think I would be where I am today if it weren't for social media.


M: You made quite a splash early on with your pictures by Luis Rafael and Rick Day. How did all that initial attention affect you? Did you enjoy being in the spotlight?

KC: At first it was good. Awesome. But then I got too many people and creepers on my social media accounts. I just needed a break, so I shut all my accounts down. I made new ones and I started fresh -- this time with a clear mind and better prepared for what is to come. I do enjoy being in the spotlight, since I worked hard enough to deserve it. :)


M: What advice would you offer others just coming onto the fitness modeling scene? 

KC: Be yourself. Be original. And have fun.


M: What part of your body do you think is your best asset? And why?

KC: I would have to say my eyes, or so I have been told. My body could be built-up and slimmed down, but you can not change something that was given to you genetically. God made me how I am and I am happy with that. :)


M: Do you think Americans have a different attitude about men's bodies than Russians do? The emphasis today seems to be more on adding muscle mass rather than developing strong classic lines. 

KC: I don't know. I prefer symmetry over being huge and muscular. Being lean, muscular and symmetrical is what "I" prefer.


M: How do you maintain your physique when not in full training mode? What are your toughest challenges to keep healthy and fit?

KC: I train all the time, all year-round since I started. There really is no off-season for me. I am always trying to better myself. The biggest challenge to staying fit and lean is the diet. It's more of a lifestyle than a diet, since diet is temporary and lifestyle is year- round. I don't have any trouble training year-round, I love it! The food choices is what comes harder to me since I love to eat good food. I have to control my cravings and overcome them by always thinking of my goals.


 M: What do you do to relax? Your favorite hobbies? Secret passions?

KC: I watch my favorite TV shows, which are "MasterChef," "Hell's Kitchen" (I know, right!), and comedies. I actually love to cook. It is like a hobby, but also a lifestyle since food is a BIG part in a healthy lifestyle. As for secret passions -- I want to be an awesome cook! Haha. I also want to travel the world and be a part of all the different cultures. 


M: What is there about Kirill Chayka that people don't expect and are surprised by when they finally meet you in person?

KC: What surprises people when they meet me in person is that I am very straightforward. I say what is on my mind. I don't BS things. Also that I am not as serious as I look. I am sarcastic. 


M: Where do you see yourself five years from now?

KC: Who knows? I want it to be a surprise. :)


M: So how did you get the nickname Cheerio?

KC: I got it my freshman year in high school. People could not pronounce my first name well, and they thought it sounded like Cheerio. Plus I do love Cheerios cereal and eat it all the time! I just roll with it. It stuck, and I like it. Haha.







Going Virile

Changing Notions of Masculinity
by Peter Renault

Not so long ago a buddy and I went to see the classic Hitchcock thriller "Rear Window" at a revival movie house. There up on the screen, bigger than life, was the film's leading man, James Stewart, being massaged by his tough-as-nails maid. At one point Stewart, who is shirtless, flips over, revealing a scrawny chest and the hint of a spare tire around his waist. My friend poked me in the ribs and chuckled that Stewart should have hit the gym more often. But back in 1954 when the movie was released, few would have noticed Stewart's lack of a six-pack. He was a man's man, whom women mooned over, and guys looked up to, regardless of his build. Same with other stars of the era: John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum, even James Dean. The exception was Marlon Brando, whose sweat-drenched, sinewy muscles gleaming under a slinky wife-beater left audiences drooling in "A Streetcar Named Desire."


Notions of what constitutes masculine beauty have constantly evolved over the centuries. The Greeks and Romans idealized the male figure. Body hair was out. Showing skin was in. The word "gymnasium," let's not forget, is from the Greek gymnasion meaning "school for naked exercise." Athletes flaunted their lithe physiques without shame, but the focus was on youth and agility more than muscle mass. In the Middle Ages, bulk triumphed since strength was vital for macho knights decked out in heavy metal. The Renaissance revived ancient standards, but male beauty was still a Platonic ideal, relegated to galleries and museums, not something the average Joe aspired to. Masculinity was a natural asset. You either had it or you didn't. Muscles were something poor people gained because they had to work hard for a living. The rich preferred having pale skin and soft shapes. In 19th-century England, Beau Brummels catered more to their dapper clothes than to their frames, although the popularity of boxing later on in Victorian circles encouraged the occasional manly physique. 

For the population at large, however, exercise was still an exotic pastime, something to ogle, but not to emulate. Eugene Sandow, arguably the world's first professional fitness model, was treated as a kind of novelty act, appearing on stage and at fairs. Likewise Houdini who was as much a draw for his muscle tone as for his magic tricks. Hollywood had its share of hunks, most notably Johnny Weissmuller, who won gold in swimming at the Olympics, then starred in a dozen or more Tarzan films but could never land serious roles. So too Olympian Buster Crabbe who showed off his gold-winning swimmer's build to advantage as Flash Gordon. Later, Steve Reeves lorded over sword-and-sandal flicks as Hercules, but never made it big in regular films. It really wasn't until the late 20th-century that having a buff physique finally came into vogue in the mainstream. Now it's almost mandatory.


When did our attitudes change? One could argue it happened when Schwarzenegger, Stallone and Van Damme became enormous box-office stars. Gradually the focus in films shifted from meaty character roles to action-packed beefcake. A leading man today must appear toned to get the juicy parts and lure the crowds. Henry Cavill in the latest Superman picture looks amazing in his "Man of Steel" uniform, but it's almost superfluous. He's already superhuman looking, a far cry from the rather portly George Reeves of the early TV series. Then there's Daniel Craig as the "aesthetic" James Bond, rising from the surf like a demigod in a form-fitting speedo. He definitely upped the ante for secret agents and the like. Even Matt Damon, best known for the Bourne series, won praise recently in the Emmy-nominated Liberace biopic on HBO, "Behind the Candelabra," when he bared his buff torso and glutes for the camera. 


The trickle-down effect of all this hyper-masculinity on film and in television is that the male population today is increasingly keen on having a killer bod, and prepared to work overtime and spend major bucks to achieve it. It's not enough anymore to "just be another pretty face." Male fitness is now big business. Men are spending upwards of $5 billion a year on grooming products. Billions more are spent on gyms and health clubs and exercise equipment. Factor in dough spent on vitamins, supplements, tanning salons, and spa treatments, as well as cosmetic surgery, and the numbers are simply staggering. Achieving a masculine look these days may be expensive, but it's become just another part of a man's standard of living.

It's no coincidence that when they cast "Disturbia," a hip retelling of "Rear Window," they didn't hire an average-looking guy in his mid-40s for the lead. They chose 20-something Shia LaBoeuf who may not have been everyone's idea of the stud next door, but who definitely did not have to worry about sporting a spare tire.  

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